Curtis New York partner heads to Brussels for office launch

Am Law 200 firm tasks arbitration partner Simon Batifort to set up seventh European base

Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle is setting up shop in Brussels.  

Simon Batifort, a partner in its international arbitration and public international law groups, will relocate from New York to Brussels at the end of May to lead the efforts.  

The new office will initially focus on Batifort's investment treaty arbitration, international commercial arbitration and public international law practice, with plans to expand the offering to include international trade and other practices. It is expected it will build up over time.

Curtis chairman and head of the international arbitration group George Kahale III said the opening was a “natural next step” for the firm, adding that Brussels is “a strategic location for several of our practice areas and will enhance Curtis’ established European presence”. 

The office will be the firm’s seventh in Europe and its 18th in total, just two of which – New York and Washington – are in the US. The extent of the Am Law 200 firm’s international network reflects its roots as an adviser to governments on international law. 

Dual-qualified in Paris and New York, Batifort has represented states, state-owned entities and private companies in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. This includes securing the largest annulment before the Washington DC-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes  – Venezuela Holdings v. Venezuela.  

He started his career in France and is returning to Europe after a decade in New York with Curtis. He said the new Brussels base made sense for his practice given its status as “a major policy hub for international economic law and investor-state dispute settlement”. 

He added: “I saw this as an opportunity to leverage the experience I have gained in New York to build something brand new. In terms of timing, Brussels is more and more influential on the international scene.” 

In February, fellow New York firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett also unveiled plans to open an office in Brussels later this year, while in January US firm McDermott Will & Emery boosted its Brussels team with the hire of the former head of Deloitte Legal’s global antitrust and regulatory hub Hendrik Viaene.  

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